8 Financial Planning Tips for a Loved One with Dementia

Financial Planning

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Taking time to process a family member or friend’s Alzheimer’s or other dementia diagnosis is understandable. When you’re ready to think about everyone’s next steps, it’s crucial to consider financial planning for your loved one.

They’ll need your help to make decisions about their future while they still can. These are a few steps you can take to ensure their comfort and well-being. In all cases, it’s advisable to seek professional counsel, whether it is an attorney, a professional financial planner, or a caregiving consultant.

1 Discuss Power of Attorney Options

People who aren’t able to make financial or medical decisions for themselves have to rely on a person with a Power of Attorney. One person may handle both situations, but sometimes, families pick two separate people to make medical and financial judgments.

Talk with your loved one if they can still consider their options and pick the person or people they trust the most. They should prioritize individuals who live close by in case of an emergency and who they trust most with their well-being. If your loved one has advanced Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you can pick someone based on who they trusted most before their diagnosis.

2 Create a Living Will

Your friend or family member may already have a will designating who gets their financial assets and belongings after their death. While it’s crucial for everyone to have a will, people with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions should have a living will.

A living will provides specific instructions for a person’s preferences regarding their medical care. Your loved one should state which medical experts they prefer, which treatments they don’t want under any circumstances and other decisions related to their diagnosis or health needs.

If they become permanently unconscious or need emergency treatment and can’t make decisions for themselves, the person with medical power of attorney will know what they want. This type of will also states if your loved one wants resuscitation or if they have signed a Do Not Resuscitate form.

3 Establish a Living Trust

People with a significant amount of money or property may need to establish a living trust after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. They would also appoint someone as the trustee to hold the property titles and finances. That person would then pay their loved one’s bills and make financial decisions when their loved one can’t do those things independently any more.

Doing this before your loved one’s dementia becomes advanced will help them if you have the opportunity to do so. They’ll be less likely to get manipulated by people who might want to take advantage of their financial standing.

4 Research Your Federal Funding Options

As someone needs more daily assistance to maintain their quality of life, they often face more costly bills. They might need someone to provide help in their home or a living facility with 24/7 care.

There are federal funding options available for those in need. Look into programs like Medicaid and Medicare to see if your loved one qualifies for life-changing financial help. Medicaid mostly helps those who apply for assistance through their state’s welfare agency, while Medicare is generally available for people older than 65.

It’s crucial to pay attention to these programs if your loved one qualifies and begins receiving help. Lawyers always challenge laws and may change how much financial assistance is available for your loved one.

In 2021, the Supreme Court heard arguments for Gallardo v. Marstiller. It was a case where Florida’s Medicaid agency wanted money back from past and future settlements, but the Gallardo family disagreed.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court affirmed states could get Medicaid money from past and future settlement funds. It limits how much families can get back if they need to sue over health care or caregiving infringement.

Understanding updates like these will affect how you or a loved one plan for the future. It may point toward less risky treatment or care options that save more money. Updates to monthly allocations and premiums could also change a person’s living arrangements after deciding how they want to spend the remaining months or years of their life.

5 Meet With an Elder Law Attorney

Elder law attorneys specialize in senior citizen rights and the rights of loved ones caring for them. The laws differ by state, so meeting with an elder law attorney licensed to practice in your state is essential. They’ll help you understand how to help your loved one and the financial options available for someone with your income.

They can also give general advice and connect you with people like accountants who share their expertise. Suppose you ever have questions about how a medical professional treated your loved one or what legal actions you can take for poor care. In that case, the right attorney will help you find the justice and financial compensation you’re entitled to.

financial planning

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

6 Compare Care Management Costs

Geriatric care managers earned licenses to become nurses or social workers who know how to help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Along with daily living and health assistance, these experts also learn how to assess a patient’s ongoing needs and connect their loved ones with helpful community resources.

An elder care lawyer can help with financial planning and legal advice, but geriatric care managers help with more specific needs. You can find quotes for their various hourly or weekly fees to compare costs. They’ll also mention local living communities or nursing homes that can better help your loved one if their care requires more supervision.

Another option is to hire a Caregiving Support Consultant. They often have a wide range of experience with many different types of resources. That perspective can help direct you to the support you need, potentially saving you time and money. Learn more about how to select a Caregiving Support Consultant.

7 Learn from Helpful Media

It might feel challenging to picture everything you need to decide for your loved one’s future. You may have never known someone with Alzheimer’s or understand what help they’ll need down the road. It helps to learn from media that demonstrate other people’s experiences with Alzheimer’s and other demenitas.

Watching films about the emotional service and support caregivers provide or the struggles of living with Alzheimer’s can clarify your shared future. Spend time watching and reading accurate media portrayals to process the news and plan your loved one’s next steps.

8 Consult Your Loved One Frequently

If your loved one’s Alzheimer’s hasn’t advanced too much, talk with them frequently while they’re still in charge of their finances. They can give you access to their various accounts so you can monitor for fraudulent charges or overdue bills.

You’ll more accurately understand how much independence your loved one can handle as the weeks and months progress. They won’t overspend or miss essential billing due dates if you’re passively monitoring their accounts.

You’ll also know how best to meet their wishes, like delegating weekly cash while managing bills if they desire independence but can’t handle everything alone anymore.

Watching for fraudulent transactions is also crucial to your loved one’s financial well-being. People with memory problems may not understand when a scammer calls or emails them for money. They might also not remember when they spotted a scammer before.

In addition to watching for scams, you can use their financial information to prepare a document with phone numbers if you need to call and freeze debit and credit cards.

Consider Your Financial Planning Steps

When it’s time to start the financial planning steps for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, you shouldn’t feel alone. You can use these tips and resources to make the process easier for everyone.

Experts are ready to assist with whatever questions you have so everyone feels taken care of throughout this transitionary period.

About the Author

Beth Rush

dementia and environment

Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and Content Manager at Body+Mind.

Body+Mind features articles about diet, fitness, mental health, parenting and health care.



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